In the past, there were tapes and CD’s as our media of choice for audio and music contents but starting in the 90’s, a new format came about which are more portable that those mentioned media’s and that’s MP3. Since then we’ve enjoyed listening to music in MP3 formats on our portable devices but after decades of ruling in both legit and piracy contents, our once beloved audio format is finally put to rest.
MP3 creators the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS announced on April 23, 2017 that it had terminated current and future licensing of MP3-related patents and thanked everyone for using the audio codec for 2 decades. The recent announcement was the final nail on the coffin as the format was initially being killed-off sometime in 1995 which obviously didn’t happened and went on to become the most popular audio format since then on the internet.
The development of the MP3 codec started in the 80’s by the German research institute Fraunhofer which were based on an earlier research done by the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Before it became popular, the format hit numerous bumps from making itself relevant to the ecosystem at that time to getting German government patents for music streaming services initiated by one of its engineers. In the summer of 1995, the format was announced dead after being on life support (as our sources describes it) for quite a while. Later, Fraunhofer gave away its software to the public to use them rip CD’s into MP3’s at home and the rest was history.
Back to the future, Fraunhofer explains that there are other codecs that are more efficient than MP3 and one of them is the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) which encodes audio at higher quality than MP3’s even at a lower bitrate. AAC has been used in most audio and video streaming across the web and they proved to be more portable and has become the de facto standard music downloads and videos on mobile phones today.
While the MP3 is declared officially dead, users will continue to use the format for the meantime as we slowly realize and embrace other formats and codecs available. Marketing will also play a major role in bringing other formats such as the AAC as the new norm as most of the masses thought of digital music as MP3. If you don’t believe it, try asking your friends.